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Information about semantics

Published on September 17, 2007

Author: Flemel


Semantics:  Semantics Conceptual and associative meaning:  Conceptual and associative meaning Semantics is interested in Conceptual meaning Pragmatics and Stylistics are more concerned with the associative Semantic features:  Semantic features It seems that we would need a large number of features to describe every word For pregnant, how many features would need? [+human], [+female], [+big], [+uncomfortable], [+carrying_baby] (or [+pregnant]?!) What about hot? [–cold]? Cold? [–hot]? (The circularity problem) Semantic primes:  Semantic primes A relatively small number of basic words Can be used to define all other words Address the circularity problem Are lexical universals (the same for all languages) The NSM page describes the work of Goddard andamp; Wierzbicka on Semantic primes Semantic roles (agent, theme etc):  Semantic roles (agent, theme etc) Semantic features describe word meaning Semantic roles characterize sentences (or clauses) Check Yule 117 What are the semantic roles of NPS in this sentence? John looked at the stars with a telescope How about John saw a bright star Lexical relations: Synonyms:  Lexical relations: Synonyms Usually not exactly the same meaning (as was pointed out) huge:large, baby and infant student and pupil Or the meaning may be pretty similar, with the difference emerging (!) from the way we use the words sick and ill quickly and speedily 知道:曉得:懂:理解 appear:emerge Can you think of any absolute synonym pairs? Are they easier to find in English or Chinese, do you think? Is there a reason why absolute synonyms should not exist (or should be very rare)? “Synonymy” across languages: cross-linguistic semantic equivalence:  'Synonymy' across languages: cross-linguistic semantic equivalence Although cat = 貓 we know that there is no automatic one-to-one mapping between English andamp; Chinese (or any other pair) at least, I hope we all know this Consider again 知道 and 曉得. And 認識 Many Romance languages distinguish between知道 and 認識 In French, aimer can mean either like or love! The t/v distinction: 你 vs 您 Think of other instances of semantic non-equivalence, among English, Mandarin and S Min (or any other languages) Antonyms (using * for semantic oddness here):  Antonyms (using * for semantic oddness here) Non-gradable If you don’t pass, you fail If you’re not dead, you’re alive But a table is not alive and not dead: can you explain this ?He looks very dead *She is deader / more dead than him Gradable *If you’re not rich, you’re poor He looks very rich. She is richer than him. Hyponyms:  Hyponyms The opposite of the word hyponym is hypernym. This is very confusing, because they are pronounced the same way! Task: make a semantic network (mini-thesaurus) choose a lexeme and plot its hypernyms, and some of its hyponyms, on a (large) piece of paper. See if you can go right back to a universal beginner (yi(?) 原) like thing or entity Find a way to represent synonymy and other relations on your chart Bring your network on 16th April Prototypes:  Prototypes If you close your eyes and think of this: BIRD You will probably see a robin, or a sparrow Not a chicken, and not an ostrich, and not a humming bird. Could it be different, with you Chinese speakers, for ostrich? Homonyms:  Homonyms Most homonyms are also homophones and homographs Bank, bat, 轉機, 制服 Some homonyms are just homophones right-write 意義-異議 Some homonyms are just homographs Buffet (beat/ restaurant) Resume (continue/ summary). 覺 (but that’s just a morpheme, can you think of a word?) Metonymy:  Metonymy There are many types of metonymy, and they all have long and boring names ending in –nymy But I like Jared’s 小黃 and 小強 examples Here, just one feature is used to refer to the whole item. Prototypical collocation:  Prototypical collocation Strong and powerful are near synonyms But This is strong / *powerful tea. This is a *strong / powerful car. Task 2 (also 16th April) Username mcu01, same password Go to Sketch Differences (Chinese or English or both) Enter 5 synonym pairs (like strong / powerful) Print the sketch diff reports (or the important parts, only) Write a one page summary of the differences between your pairs

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